Chicago bishop on Episcopal Church of Sudan, gift of relationship

December 20, 2011

[Canticle Communications] The Rt. Rev. Jeffrey D. Lee, Bishop of Chicago, released this statement Dec. 19:

“The Episcopal Diocese of Chicago and the Episcopal Diocese of Renk in the Church of Sudan have enjoyed a highly collaborative and deeply enriching mission relationship for ten years. We have visited frequently with them, and they with us. More than two dozen of our congregations work directly in partnership with parishes in Renk to build and support schools, churches and hospitals that provide essential services to people whose country was torn by war for decades and is now newly independent and fragile. Here in Chicago, we have been blessed beyond imagining by the steadfast faith and courage of our sisters and brothers in Renk.

“The political seasons of the Anglican Communion come and go, and tensions sometimes boil over. That appears to have happened last week when Archbishop Daniel Deng Bul chose to withdraw an invitation to visit that he had previously made to Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori. This was regrettable, but disagreements among primates who are often playing to audiences we are not aware of should not disrupt relationships among Anglicans working together in mission.

“We stand with the people of Renk, just as we stand with lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender Christians around the world, especially in places where they suffer violence and persecution. We will not allow communion politics or matters of theological interpretation to keep us from following the Gospel with any of our brothers and sisters in Christ.”